2nd Prize – Lynn Roberts with:
Noli me tangere
The earth is stone hard, dusted with dun flour,
spattered with shade where oleanders sprawl,
where she is wandering, kicking velvet dust.
She sees again the ledge within the cave,
the crumpled shroud, heavy with nard and myrrh,
wrapping enigma, and
a bud of something which is nearly hope
unfurls inside her womb, between
the shadows and the dust.
The keeper ladles water from his jar
over the lilies, and she sees
her brother’s face, the way life rose and ran
through dried-up veins, meltwater running in
a dusty riverbed.
The keeper’s jar is empty and he shoulders it
and as she glances up to smile into
his cross familiar scowl
the world shifts –
she does not know she knows it, but she knows
a beat before it moves and settles down –
hope is an open flower;
she looks again into the preacher’s eyes.
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